PUBS in Ireland are set to finally reopen next month following over a year of devastating closures due to the pandemic.
On June 7, outdoor dining will reopen for pubs and restaurants, and while no concrete roadmap has been put in place yet, it's expected that indoor dining will be allowed to return in July.
The Government is set to approve and publish official guidelines for the reopening of hospitality in Ireland this week, outlining the dos and don'ts for potential pub-goers.
A one-metre distancing rule is expected to be put in place, while tables will be limited to a maximum of six customers.
There will also be a time-limit of 105 minutes per sitting.
These guidelines were initially expected to be published today, but it's understood that the Department of the Taoiseach wanted to review them further.
Nothing is expected to be officially agreed until Friday at the very earliest, following a special Cabinet meeting.
According to sources, the majority of the powers that be are optimistically hoping for a full opening of hospitality in early July, bu others, including Taoiseach Micheál Martin, are more reluctant and would prefer a more cautious reopening plan, which could see pubs keep indoor dining closed until August.
Chief Executive of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) Donall O'Keefe told Dublin Live that opening the sector as early as possible was imperative in order to save many businesses from going under.
"We welcome the upcoming publication of outdoor guidelines which have been urgently needed by pubs and the rest of the hospitality sector as we get ready to resume outdoor service, having been mothballed for most of the last 15 months," he said.
"While many pubs and hospitality venues won't be in a position to provide outdoor service, it is a welcome start and we are looking to forward to seeing activity of this nature begin from the 7th June.
"However, we are surprised and somewhat disappointed to see that the time limit in the guideline measures to be advanced for indoor service.
"Indoor will be key to recovery of hospitality and that needs to be facilitated by the 1st July at the latest as every day matters when have been closed for 435 consecutive days.
"Given that indoor reopening is five weeks away and that another 1.5 million vaccines will have been administered over that period, we will be pressing yo have these guidelines reviewed and further sense checked from a pragmatic perspective in advance of pubs and restaurants reopening for indoor service.
"There is no point in introducing guidelines which will have unintended consequences around customer movement and interaction. There needs to be further reflection on the practicalities involved before pubs and restaurants are able to admit people through their doors again."